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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Essay

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome... is the name given to a group of physical and mental birth defects that are the direct result of a woman's drinking alcohol during pregnancy.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a series of mental and physical birth defects that can include mental retardation, growth deficiencies, central nervous system dysfunction, craniofacial abnormalities and behavioral maladjustment's. Fetal Alcohol Effect is a less severe set of the same symptoms.

All communities nationwide, and especially high-risk women in their childbearing years, need better information about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy. But most health care providers are unfamiliar with and untrained in the issues of substance abuse among pregnant women. FAS/FAE is widely misdiagnosed and under diagnosed and less than 10% of medical schools require students to complete a course on the proper diagnosis and referral of individuals with alcoholism and other drug addictions.

Statistics study found that doctors appear less likely to tell a black woman to quit drinking and smoking during pregnancy than they are to tell a white woman. Pregnant black women were thirty percent more likely than white women to report that they had never been told to quit drinking. (The New York Times,January 19, 1994)

If you drink wine, beer, or liquor when you are pregnant, your baby could develop FAS. A baby with FAS can suffer from mental retardation, central nervous dysfunction, organ dysfunction and facial abnormalities. These disabilities will last a lifetime. No amount of alcohol has been proven safe to consume during pregnancy. FAS and FAE (Fetal Alcohol Effects) are 100% preventable when a pregnant woman abstains from alcohol.

In 1991, The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that FAS is the leading known cause of mental retardation. At least 5,000 infants are born each year with FAS, or approximately one out of every 750 live births. Thirty to forty percent of babies whose mothers drink heavily throughout pregnancy have the Syndrome. FAS/FAE is a problem found in all races and socio-economic groups. FAS and FAE are widely under diagnosed. Some experts believe between one third and two-thirds of all children in special education have been affected by alcohol in some way.

FAS/FAE produces irreversible physical, mental and emotional effects. Behav...


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... mother is not an alcoholic, her child may not be spared the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure.
• Cognitive performance is less affected by alcohol exposure in infants and children whose mothers stopped drinking in early pregnancy, despite the mothers' resumption of alcohol use after giving birth.
• One analysis of 6 year-olds, with demonstrated effects of second-trimester alcohol exposure, had lower academic achievement and problems with reading, spelling, and mathematical skills.
• Approximately 6 percent of the offspring of alcoholic women have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS); the FAS risk for offspring born after an FAS sibling, is as high as 70 percent.
• Those diagnosed as having Fetal Alcohol Syndrome had IQ scores ranging from 20-105 with a mean of 68. Subjects also demonstrated poor concentration and attention.
• People with FAS demonstrate growth deficits, morphologic abnormalities, mental retardation, and behavioral difficulties. Secondary effects of FAS among adolescents and adults include mental health problems, disrupted schooling (dropping out or being suspended or expelled), trouble with the law, dependent living as an adult, and problems with employment.


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